Has anyone published their thesis as a book?

(7 Posts)
allegretto Sun 27-Nov-16 10:36:33

This has been suggested to me. It's a lot of work isn't it? I am not sure I am up for it. If you've done it, could you let me know how to go about it? I mean, do I ask publishers if they are interested before attempting it? How long does it actually take?

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 27-Nov-16 22:43:09

I'm in the early stages - but, in my field, it is normal (so much so that I have had considerable aggro for not doing it immediately). Everyone I know who is employed has done it - times vary from a year after graduation (fast) to two-three years (standard).

Some publishers say up front they are not interested in theses unless they're substantially rewritten. The one I've talked to wants quite a lot of revision to mine in terms of the introduction, but I've heard of people being asked for more again. Basically, it depends on the prestige of the press.

AddictedtoLove Mon 28-Nov-16 08:19:56

It's a lot of work isn't it? I am not sure I am up for it

Er yes, it is a lot of work. But it's what Humanities academics do (mostly). Are you looking for an academic contract (ie teaching & research)? If you are, you'll need to do something further with your PhD thesis. And you'll need to have a story to tell about that. I'm not sure that someone "not up for it" is suited to the life of an academic. But it could be different in STEM and social sciences.

In the Humanities, it's key for ECRs to do something with all that work to get it out there. Very few people read PhDs, but a lot of people in your field will read a book, or a series of articles. I didn't publish my PhD as a book, but I've published most of it as articles, and I keep coming back to the materials - indeed, my next book but one (have to finish my next book) will be drawn from a set of questions I started to develop in my PhD. And my PhD was awarded 25 years ago.

Thing is, it's a big old lump of intellectual capital - too good to waste that.

AddictedtoLove Mon 28-Nov-16 08:23:41

Also, it is good practice at writing books. I found that my first book took a while to get right in terms of structure and approach. But through it, I developed a kind of formula - or at least my method of approaching & structuring a big piece of work with an argument driving through 80,000 words. It got easier after my first book - I had a clear plan for the next one. And I think the book I'm writing now is the better for the "just practicing" aspect of my 1st book.

IrenetheQuaint Mon 28-Nov-16 08:29:36

Do you want a career in academia? If you've left all that behind and are doing something entirely different now then there's no point, but most people do want to make something of their PhD.

As a former academic publisher, what I liked to see was a proposal drawn from the thesis but reworked to attract a slightly wider audience - so no long literature review, and a more engaging introduction to set the argument (I'm sure there are theses with engaging introductions but it's quite rare). Plus a section that made it clear the author had looked through the Press's catalogue and could see how their book would fit into our list.

BratFarrarsPony Mon 28-Nov-16 08:32:27

Well I proofread academic theses, and OK the PhD theses that I have read might not have been the best, but without substantial re-writing and removal of literature review, as Irene said, I think most readers would die of boredom.

allegretto Tue 29-Nov-16 06:57:50

Thanks for all the input. I do work at a university as a language teacher (I am abroad) and will continue in my present job for the forseeable future. I don't need a PhD or any publications to do this. There is a slight possibility that opportunities could open up for me in the future to pursue an academic career so I am loathe just to let it go. On the other hand, it is hard to undertake such a time-consuming project when there is a strong possibility that it won't actually benefit me at all. I feel that publishing articles from it might actually be more do-able but am also thinking that I don't want to regret not doing it iyswim.

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